Two Miami Heat Assistants Linked to Head Coach Vacancy at the Indiana Pacers

Published 10/14/2020, 1:17 AM EDT
Aug 22, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan talks with his team during a time out during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


After an embarrassing exit in the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers fired head coach Nate McMillan. He spent seven years at Indiana, three as an assistant to Frank Vogel, and four as the head coach. But under him, the Pacers lost in the first round every year, including three 4-0 sweeps. So now they are looking for some change.

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Aug 20, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson shoots as Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner (33) defends during the first half in an NBA basketball first round playoff game of the 2020 NBA playoffs at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin O’Connor from the Ringer reveals that five people are in the running for the job now. The newest names on the list are Miami Heat assistant coaches, Chris Quinn and Dan Craig, who are going to have an interview soon.

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Quinn is a former player who had stints with the Heat, Spurs, and the Cavs before retiring and joining the Heat as an assistant. He has been with them since 2014 and finally looks poised to get the long-awaited promotion.

Can a new coach turn the tide for the Indiana Pacers?

Unlike Quinn, Craig never played in the league. He has been with the Heat for over 17 years and has an inspiring story like the current head coach Erik Spoelstra. Craig joined as a video intern for Heat back in 2003 and rose the ranks to become the assistant coach. Perhaps this is why Spoelstra is fond of him.

Sep 6, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra reacts as he talks with forward Bam Adebayo (13) during the second half of game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“DC is much like myself, he started at the bottom,” said Spoelstra back in January 2019.

“Learning the business from the video room of the Miami Heat is different, to say the least. (Craig) is extremely polished now, he’s done basically everything, including coaching at Sioux Falls (Miami’s G-League affiliate) and he’s somebody that I lean on a lot. I lean on him like he’s a head coach, but he’s also one of my closest friends.”

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The Pacers have an exciting team, but their inability to perform in the playoffs is their biggest problem. The Pacers will look for someone who can help them be better playoff performers and cause a few upsets.

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Indiana isn’t a free-agent dream destination, so the coach has limited resources. But they already have a solid team, so it will be an interesting season for them next year.

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Aaron Mathew

1632 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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